Plastic Tees: The Top 5 Challengers to Tiger Woods’ 2013 Masters Quest

Rickie Fowler in Orange - Tiger Woods The Masters
(Photo “courtesy” of ESPN and Getty Images)

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by Olin Browne

5th Hole Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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Tiger Woods is back, apparently. Being ranked number one in the world for the first time since his sex addiction was merely a hobby will do that to your reputation, but the Masters is still four days long and it starts this Thursday — not last Thursday, or at any other point this year. Regardless of Tiger’s return to occasional greatness, you’d be crazy to say he’s the same old Tiger that used to rip the PGA Tour a new a*shole just for fun. (If you really think he is, then show me his Majors since 2009.)

But, this is Augusta. A green jacket is up for grabs and Eldrick is in the house.

Unfortunately for him, so are these guys…

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*NOTE: Guys like Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, and Luke Donald are too obvious and off limits. This is for prediction and for propping up the forgotten. We’re not trying to blow smoke up the putter of men who already know they’re good…

5. Bubba Watson

Okay, so this is pretty obvious. Bubba could easily have been included that trio of Englanders above. But, seriously, who actually remembers that Bubba comes into Augusta 2013 as the defending champion and the give-away-er of the Green Jacket? It’s been all Tiger, Tiger, Tiger lately. Bubba’s awkwardly awesome song and his stupid top button have been cast aside, even though he’s tried to take attention back with some Tuesday morning water works.

4. Adam Scott

He seems to get closer and closer… and then he loses it all. Don’t overlook him. Ever.

3. Sergio Garcia

I’m not the only one saying this. Sergio’s problem, though, is Sergio. If he really doesn’t think he can win, then he won’t. Of course, Garcia has made a career out of surprising people — for better or worse. He may even surprise himself.

2. Nick Watney

I’ve been looking Watney’s way for a while — Hell, we all have — and he’s never really flicked the tip quite like you’d think he could. There’s so much skill here — and he’s got that new Nike cheddar — but he’ll be tough against the favourites and the rest, including the always-forgotten No. 3 in the world, England’s Justin Rose. The Masters has never played by the book, though, and I could see Watson fitting Watney for custom cut by the end of Sunday.

1. Rickie Fowler.

I know, I know…

Fowler gets about as much attention for his style and swagger as Holly Sonders. He’s been a trendy pick for a long time, and he’s yet to prove himself on a real stage, or at least top the podium.

The fact, though, is that Fowler is a premier ball striker and one of the more consistent placers on the PGA Tour. He’s come close individually, and he’s waited the appropriate amount of time to make his move after several coming-out parties — the 2010 Ryder Cup, especially.

It wouldn’t shock me to see Fowler explode out from his buddy Bubba’s shadow and capture a Green Jacket for himself. Actually, I’d bet on it.

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